Jeddah’s new airport terminal: Saudi Arabia’s latest landmark

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A view of the new King Abdulaziz International Airport's Terminal 1. (AN photo)
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A general view of the new King Abdulaziz International Airport's Terminal 1. (AN photo)
Updated 25 September 2019

Jeddah’s new airport terminal: Saudi Arabia’s latest landmark

  • King Abdul Aziz International Airport Terminal 1 is located 19 kilometers from heart of Jeddah
  • The long-term goal is for the airport to handle over 80 million passengers per year by 2035

JEDDAH: A day after Saudis celebrated their National Day, King Salman officially inaugurated the new King Abdul Aziz International Airport Terminal 1 (KAIA Terminal 1) in Jeddah, one of the biggest infrastructure projects undertaken in the Kingdom.

After the national anthem was played during Tuesday’s opening ceremony, King Salman toured the airport, which lies 19 kilometers from the heart of the city that is considered the gateway to the holy sites in Makkah.

KAIA Terminal 1 has a total area of 810,000 square meters and a capacity for handling 30 million passengers a year. It will be able to accommodate up to 70 aircraft simultaneously, including the Airbus A380 superjumbo jet.

KAIA Terminal 1 is estimated to be one of the largest terminals in the world. The long-term goal is to handle more than 80 million passengers per year by 2035 to keep pace with the growing demand on air travel and plans for attracting more tourists.


Upon his arrival at the new airport, King Salman was received by Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal; Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Majed; Minister for Transport and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) Dr. Nabil bin Mohammed Al-Amoudi; and the president of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), Abdul-Hadi bin Ahmed Al-Mansouri.

“The civil aviation sector in the Kingdom has recently achieved qualitative leaps and creative developments, which contributed to 4.6 percent of gross domestic product, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) indicators,” Dr. Al-Amoudi said in his speech.

The number of people using KAIA hit a new record in 2018 by passing the 41.2 million mark.

King Salman leads the official inauguration of the new KAIA Terminal 1, which has the tallest air traffic control tower in the world. (SPA)

Prince Mishaal pointed out that the KAIA Terminal 1 project was designed contribute to the construction of a logistics platform in the Kingdom linking the three main continents of the world.

“The new airport will be able to work pivotally linking East and West. It will also serve as an intensive collection point for the movement of passengers and goods, to become an influential position among international airports in the world, and will compete to get a fair share of the region’s air transport market,” he said.

The 136 meter-high air traffic control (ATC) tower with its 9-meter antenna is the tallest in the world. It is 4.8 meters higher than that of Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Thailand. From such heights, air traffic controllers can get a 360-degree view of the entire expanse of the airport.


  • 220 boarding counters and 80 self-service kiosks for passengers
  • 120 shops are spread over almost 28,000 square meters

GACA, in cooperation with the Saudi Air Navigation Services (SANS), has equipped the tower with the full gamut of modern equipment to ensure safe navigation: Advanced Surface Movement Guidance & Control System (A-SMGCS);  advanced electronic flight planning system (EFPS); and arrival and departure management system (AMAN/ DMAN).

The tower also boasts advanced emergency communication systems; a voice communication control system (VCCS); communication recording and playback system (RAPS); and an instrument landing system (ILS), in addition to meteorological devices to be used in any weather conditions.

KAIA Terminal 1 contains the latest technical systems, including a baggage-handling system with 16 luggage belts and a total length of 1,700 meters.

Passengers can complete their travel procedures through 220 boarding counters, in addition to 80 self-service machines. The airport also includes 299 lifts.

Dr. Nabil bin Mohammed Al-Amoudi  Saudi Minister of Transport. (SPA)

Transit travelers can stay in one of the 120 rooms of the three-level, 5-star hotel. Passengers can also enjoy shopping at 120 shops spread over a space of 27,987 square meters.

Moreover, an estimated 3,732 passengers can perform their prayers at the same time in a mosque, which was built over an area of 2,450 square meters, or in 81 praying rooms inside the lounges.

The train station built at the new airport aims to improve transport for visitors and pilgrims to the two Holy Cities, in accordance with the Kingdom’s aim to welcome up to 30 million pilgrims for Hajj and Umrah by 2030.

The pilgrims will be welcomed by a specially designed, tent-shaped complex made up of five main tents (A, B, C, D and E) with fiberglass roofs.

The Haramain high-speed rail network will allow arriving passengers to make fast connections to Makkah, Madinah, and King Abdullah Economic City.

The new airport has 46 gates through which passengers can proceed to 70 aircraft through 94 transferable pedestrian tunnels. Another 28 airplanes can wait for passengers on the other side of the ramp.

Terminal 1 has a terminal control center that contains 44 control units that connect all government agencies and airport operators to the airport network. The center can manage all safety, security, fire and rescue operations in the terminal.

Interestingly, KAIA Terminal 1 is home to one of the biggest airport aquariums, 10 meters in diameter and 14 meters in height with a capacity of a million liters of water.

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

  • “I was transported into a completely different world”: Jay Kay

ALULA: British band Jamiroquai thrilled a delighted audience at Maraya Concert Hall in Saudi Arabia on Friday night during a show packed with hits.

In a first for a venue more used to hosting opera and classical concerts, the British funk/acid jazz outfit had fans dancing along to the music.

The show, at the distinctive, mirror-covered concert hall in historic AlUla, was part of the second Winter at Tantora festival. It opened with “Shake It On,” followed by the hit singles “Little L,” “Alright,” and “Space Cowboy.” By this time the crowd was well and truly warmed up, and “Use the Force” got them on their feet.

“The song seemed to resonate with everyone” Jay Kay told Arab News in an exclusive interview after the show.

During the gig, Kay dedicated the 2002 song “Corner of the Earth” to AlUla, which he described as a “magical and wonderful place, which is absolutely stunning.” The opportunity to perform there was “an honor and privilege” he added. He also thanked “Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman for his vision, and Prince Badr for making this happen and the great hospitality.”

After a further selection of singles and album tracks, the show ended on a high with a quartet of hits — “Cosmic Girl,” “Virtual Insanity,” “Canned Heat” and “Lovefoolosophy.”

Kay praised the Maraya Concert Hall as “a brilliant place to play.” He admitted that initially he was a little worried when he saw it because he was under the impression it would be an outdoor venue. However, any concerns he had were gone by the time the first sound check was done.

“I was transported into a completely different world; the acoustics were unbelievable, like being in a German concert hall,” he said. “It is obviously very well thought out and that’s what makes it so good. The sound was fabulous — I never looked at my sound guy once.”

Jamiroquai’s music videos often feature Kay in super cars, of which he owns many, and he revealed that he would love to shoot such a promo in AlUla.

“In reality, I’m desperate to get in one of the dune buggies, and would kill to have a (Ariel) Nomad and have a go in one in AlUla, where it’s supposed to be driven, for a day or five and dune bash, which is such a rare thing for us in England,” he said.

The singer also said he wants to bring his family to AlUla, which has become a hub for culture and creativity in Saudi Arabia.

“I would like to come out with my family and my youngest, who is called Talula, so hopefully we can have Talula come to AlUla, which would be wonderful,” said Kay.

He added that he was looking forward to exploring the area on Saturday, before leaving the country, but added: “I’m sure you can never have enough time to see everything there is to see.”